All About SamAll About Sam by Lois Lowry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All About Sam was recommended to me by my first grader. “I just love this book!” she said. Obviously I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Lois Lowry is perhaps most famous for her dystopian Y.A. novels The Giver, The Messenger, and Gathering Blue. However, as a child of the ’80s, I knew her for her heartfelt books about ordinary family life. I cried over A Summer to Die and Find a Stranger Say Goodbye and laughed my way through the entire Anastasia Krupnik series. Well, it turns out that there is a Sam Krupnik spin-off series, too! It all started in 1988 with All About Sam. I must have been off reading Flowers in the Attic or something by then and missed it altogether.

Lowry makes the bold narrative choice to tell a story from a newborn baby’s point of view. Many have tried to pull off an unconventional point of view character like a dog or a pig or a four-year-old trapped in a windowless room, but not many succeed. (Side note: I gave Room two stars.) Lowry manages to make baby Sam sound cute but never cutsie. Even as an infant, he makes interesting observations, struggling to make sense of the world around him.

He grows up a bit and gets into scrapes along the way. Lowry gives us a rare (and surprisingly welcome) glimpse into the mind of a busy preschooler. Audrey kept interrupting my reading to ask me what part I was on. “The part where he doesn’t know what to bring to show and tell.”

She would start chuckling knowingly. “Oh yeah. He gets in big trouble for that. Now what part are you on?”

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